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  • 3/4 Front Glamour 2018 Toyota Tundra
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Automotive Editor -

Buyers are spoiled for choice in today’s full-size, half-ton pickup market, with Ford, Chevrolet/GMC, and Ram covering nearly all of the segment’s sales, while Nissan and Toyota left to fight over the scraps. Yet despite attracting only one-fourth as many buyers as third-place Ram, it’s not for a lack of trying. The Toyota Tundra, for example, offers almost everything you’ll find on competitive trucks in the meaty part of the market at competitive prices.

What's New for 2018

A new milder “TRD [Toyota Racing Development] Sport” trim level replaces the hardcore off-road TRD Pro, swapping out the latter’s desert-runner/rock-crawler gear for its on-pavement-performance equivalent and improved optics inside and out. Other trims get minor tweaks including improved headlight tech, and Toyota’s Safety Sense P suite of electronic driver assistance features and an improved interior display screen are now standard across the board. The two-door Regular Cab body style has been eliminated.

Toyota Tundra

Choosing Your Toyota Tundra

Thanks to its Regular Cab being consigned to the hereafter, the Tundra’s list of body style and bed length combinations has been simplified, with the Double Cab – two full doors in front and two three-quarter doors in back – available with a 6.5-foot Standard Bed or an 8.1-foot Long Bed while the Crew Max – four full doors – sports only the 5.5-foot Short Bed.

On paper, Toyota lists three available V8 engines in the Tundra, but in reality, it’s two, with nearly every Tundra coming with a 5.7-liter V8 producing 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque in either standard or Flex Fuel (E85-capable) form and a 4.6-liter 32-valve DOHC V8 with 310 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque. This engine is only available on that can only available on three specific bottom-shelf configurations for customers looking for more efficiency (15 city/19 highway versus the 5.7's 13 city/18 highway best) and a $1,270 savings over the optional 5.7-liter.

Similarly, except for the very specific case of the SR Double Cab Long Bed with the 5.7-liter engine, supplementing your rear-wheel drive Tundra with Toyota’s 4WDemand part-time 4WD with electronically-controlled transfer case and automatic limited-slip differential is $3,050. All Tundras are equipped with six-speed automatic transmissions.

Trim-wise the Tundra comes in six “grades”, with base MSRPs ranging from $32,140 to $51,425 (including $1,295 destination, which is higher in AR, MS, OK, and TX):

SR

Available only in Double Cab form, the Tundra SR opens with an MSRP of $32,140 for a Standard Bed with two-wheel drive, the 4.6-liter engine and the “Work Truck” credit that swaps vinyl upholstery in place of the standard fabric for a $275 credit.

Moving up to the 5.7-liter motor here – required to get a Long Bed – creates that one exception which makes 4WD $330 more than everywhere else. Down here, there are very few options, but in addition to the newly-free TSS-P setup, LED DRLs and an Entune Audio system with Bluetooth, a touch screen and an integrated backup camera come standard.

SR5

The $1,985 hop from an SR to an SR5-trimmed base model is likely the best bargain in the Tundra range. In addition to some exterior appearance items, that money buys you a navigation-enabled Entune infotainment system, a chrome rear bumper, intermittent windshield wipers (yes, the SR lacks those even here in 2018), and makes available many more options and accessories.

Going SR5 also makes available the Crew Max body style, which adds $2,420 to the base Standard Bed – for an MSRP of $36,545 – and represents the 4.6-liter’s last appearance in the Tundra line. Perhaps most importantly, however, the SR5 represents the last time you can buy a 5.7-liter V8-powered 4WD model for less than the starting price of the next trim level up, in this case $40,865.

Limited

This is where the workhorse skews towards show pony, and the eight-foot bed disappears. So too the 4.6-liter V8.

Starting at $41,680 for the Double Cab and $43,545 for the Crew Max, going Limited means going for a significantly larger investment into a trim package that adds nothing to the utility of the Tundra. Should one want something so simple as leather upholstery alone, however, they have no choice as fabric’s all you get at or below an SR5. It’s also the beginning of the climb up Mount Luxury, offering much of what’s included at the Platinum level as packaged options.

The only noteworthy option on the Limited requires four-wheel drive. The $1,065 Limited Premium Package adds front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a JBL audio system, and glass breakage sensors for security.

Platinum

As one would expect, it is at Platinum where one reaches peak MSRP, and at $48,375 it doesn't disappoint. It’s available only with the Crew Max body and the 5.7-liter V8.

On the exterior, the extra $4,830 over a similarly-configured Limited buys a body-color rear bumper, color-keyed front bumper and surround for its unique black honeycomb grille, Platinum-specific trim, and auto-dimming for the exterior mirrors. Inside it upgrades the infotainment system and floor mats, swaps in heated and ventilated perforated leather upholstery, and makes standard various convenience items that were part of packages in “lesser” Tundras.

1794 Edition

Like the Platinum with which it shares an MSRP, the 1794 Edition, named for the year the oldest working cattle ranch in Texas (part of which is under the Tundra plant), comes only in 5.7-powered Crew Max form.

It comes with its own set of appearance “enhancers”, including a chrome billet grille, a gunmetal-gray lower front bumper with chrome end caps, and the expected special badging. The interior is not nearly so special, as its only unique offering is the “wood-grain-style accents” pack it adds to the steering wheel.

TRD Sport

Available in Double Cab and Crew Max forms with the 5.7-liter V8 and rear- or four-wheel drive, the TRD Sport pairs upgraded suspension pieces with an exterior appearance package – including 20-inch wheels, color-keyed trim and unique mesh grille and bedside graphics – and TRD-branded floormats and trim. While specific pricing is not known, bet on it being near the top of the Tundra range as editions this special never come cheap.

CarsDirect Tip

As with all pickups, the Tundra exhibits a split personality. One can either go the “work truck” route with the SR5 and below and get access to all the body and bed configurations at the expense of top-shelf creature-comforts, or make the $6,285 leap up into the Limited and into the realm of a “Boss’ truck” and all the goodies that entails. So, if you need a truck, consider a fully-loaded SR5 before anything else because $6,300 is a lot to spend just for the Limited’s frosting.

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